Matthew 26:38 “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”
Jesus' emotions that are depicted throughout scripture are mostly provoked by external factors - anger against injustice and hypocrisy, empathy toward the lowly, compassion for the suffering, etc. However in the prayer of Gethsemane, we observe a rare scene of a deeply personal and vulnerable Jesus. He bares his soul to his Father as he contemplates the unimaginable pain set before him. Even Jesus - the Son of God, who is without sin and perfectly walking in his Father’s will - cannot help but be overwhelmed by fear and agony, begging to be rescued from his circumstance.
He also requests his closest friends to stand vigil with him. The powerful and unassailable Jesus is also fully human. And in his humanity, he yearns for his friends' compassion and for them to suffer with him through his lowest moment. Concurrently, as he had been warning them throughout Matthew 26, he is instructing them to watch and pray for their own trials that were to befall them.
Through this account of Jesus' deep suffering, we can be confident that Jesus understands all our sorrows, and that the Father honors the humanity of our burdens and temptations. Let us take up his yoke and lean into the Holy Spirit for rest and strength in our moments of suffering as we walk in the light of Christ.
Question | Do you ever struggle with surrendering your pain and suffering to God?
Practice | Just as Jesus asked of Peter, James and John, “watch with him” in the following prayers:
Consider and meditate on the suffering of Jesus: betrayal, abandonment, an unjust death sentence, humiliation, excruciating torture toward a slow death, and even separation from His father as he bears the sin of the world. We often take the price of our salvation for granted.
In Luke’s account of Gethsemane, an angel appeared to Jesus to strengthen him (Luke 22:43). Pray as Jesus did and lift up your own pain to the Father, that He may comfort and strengthen you. If you aren’t going through any difficult circumstances at the moment, pray for those who are - in our community, in your life or even in this world.
Lastly, pray against trial and temptation in your life - not just temptation in individual acts of sin, but the temptation to “fall asleep” and waver in living by faith and obedience.